1. the action or practice of a person who reads.
  2. Speech. the oral interpretation of written language.
  3. the interpretation given in the performance of a dramatic part, musical composition, etc.: an interesting reading of Beethoven's 5th Symphony.
  4. the extent to which a person has read; literary knowledge: a man of wide reading.
  5. matter read or for reading: a novel that makes good reading.
  6. the form or version of a given passage in a particular text: the various readings of a line in Shakespeare.
  7. an instance or occasion in which a text or other matter is read or performed, usually without elaborate preparation and often as a means of testing its merits: The playwright wants to have a reading of the play for prospective producers.
  8. an interpretation given to anything: What is your reading of the situation?
  9. the indication of a graduated instrument: The reading is 101.2°F.
  1. pertaining to or used for reading: reading glasses.
  2. given to reading: the reading public.

Origin of reading

before 900; Middle English redyng (gerund), Old English rǣdinge. See read1, -ing1, -ing2
Related formsnon·read·ing, nounself-read·ing, adjective


  1. Rufus Daniel Isaacs, 1st Marquis of,1860–1935, Lord Chief Justice of England 1913–21; viceroy of India 1921–26.
  2. a city in Berkshire, in S England.
  3. a city in SE Pennsylvania.
  4. a town in E Massachusetts, near Boston.
  5. a city in SW Ohio. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for readings

Contemporary Examples of readings

Historical Examples of readings

British Dictionary definitions for readings


    1. the act of a person who reads
    2. (as modifier)a reading room; a reading lamp
    1. ability to read
    2. (as modifier)the reading public; a child of reading age
  1. any matter that can be read; written or printed text
  2. a public recital or rendering of a literary work
  3. the form of a particular word or passage in a given text, esp where more than one version exists
  4. an interpretation, as of a piece of music, a situation, or something said or written
  5. knowledge gained from booksa person of little reading
  6. a measurement indicated by a gauge, dial, scientific instrument, etc
  7. parliamentary procedure
    1. the formal recital of the body or title of a bill in a legislative assembly in order to begin one of the stages of its passage
    2. one of the three stages in the passage of a bill through a legislative assemblySee first reading, second reading, third reading
  8. the formal recital of something written, esp a will


  1. a town in S England, in Reading unitary authority, Berkshire, on the River Thames: university (1892). Pop: 232 662 (2001)
  2. a unitary authority in S England, in Berkshire. Pop: 144 100 (2003 est). Area: 37 sq km (14 sq miles)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for readings



Old English ræding, "a reading, the act of reading" either silent or aloud, "a passage or lesson," verbal noun; see read (v.)). Meaning "interpretation" is from mid-14c. (in reference to dreams). Meaning "a form of a passage of text" is from 1550s; that of "a public event featuring reading aloud" is from 1787.


county town of Berkshire, Old English Readingum (c.900), "(Settlement of) the family or followers of a man called *Read."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper